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How to make a video game concept or trailer for mass-market

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This has been written recently, and it is only half of the piece because the second half compares the game mentioned to another game currently in development (altho you've seen the trailer already), and I'd rather not mention it as a result. But hopefully someone will still find this valuable, because I think that somewhere down the line many game developers have spent countless hours making games only to end up with a big debt, a commercial failure, and unrealized goals due to taking a non-marketing-oriented approach and instead aiming to simply create a game concept based on abstract and often irrational principles, motivated by personal ambitions rather than commercial success. If any aspects of our industry is to be put in question, it is the motivations behind the creation of its titles. If you cannot rationalize each game-design decisions you make without first and foremost focusing on the targeted consumer's perception and reception of each of those decisions, from the gender of the protagonist to the size of the opponents to the type of environments to be created, and without using specific words such as gun, sword, demon, mutant, or tank, then you are taking a shoot-in-the-dark approach. If you can rationalize each and every of your decisions on a perception/reception, then you're taking a solid approach based on logic, observation, and reflection, instead of instinct or over-enthusiasm. Once you can rationalize the decisions behind your game concept, target trailer, or any other piece that you make to convince others in your favor, you're ready to make that concept or trailer a reality. The very process of trying to rationalize your decisions by focusing on consumer perception/reaction without using words such as sword, gun, tank, etc., will help you build stronger foundations for your production. Once all of this is done, you can decide if the protagonist wields a gun or a spear; you will already have answered the questions that need to be answered in order to make such a decision, you will already know why one direction would be preferable to another because you know what you are trying to project to the consumer and you know what the targeted consumer is seeking to experience. Perception, reception. Anyway, the above being said, here is the meat of the thread:) The idea is that your concept or trailer should be first and foremost easily understandable regardless of who sees it, ANYONE, regardless of where they are on Earth, regardless of their social background. The trailer is as follows: http://www.gametrailers.com/player/10401.html A crowd is cheering at the scene of an execution as a knight lambastes the hanged men. We see a close up shot of a man standing on the edge of a high tower, looking down onto the scene. This character's appearance is highly contrasted in color to those of the knights below, giving a clear impression that he is not part of their group, and this is also reinforced by his position, far away from the knights and the crowd's attention. Now this same character is making his way through the crowd, pushing people away in the process, and suddenly launches an attack against the executioner, injuring a few of the knights as he makes his way to his target and kills him with a strike to the neck using a blade hidden within his sleeve, only to then make his escape. We can now refer to this mysterious character as an assassin. The assassin is chased through the city's streets by knights and suddenly leaps upward by holding onto the surfaces of a building, displaying strong athletic skills, and escapes from the knights' view in the process. Suddenly the knights see him leaping from roof to roof above them and give chase once more. Finally the assassin makes his way to a church, and before the knights can kill him they lose track of him among a group of monks. End of the trailer. I can guarantee you that anyone on Earth who would watch Assassin's Creed pre-rendered trailer would be able to explain to you in words more or less what they saw. And regardless of who they are, where they live, what their social backgrounds may be, the words they would use to describe what they saw would likely be similar from one person to another and in line with the above description of the trailer. If you asked them to recite what they saw, the following words would more than likely come up: City, streets, roofs Man, men Knights, medieval Hanged men/execution Assassin, kill Sword, blade Chase Run, leap, jump, climb Church, monks, priests Using those words, lets see if we could rebuild a description of the trailer and see if it matches our own well-informed and detailed description. A man killed a knight and was then chased through the city streets, he climbed up a house and then jumped from roof to roof to get away and made his way to a church where he was helped by some priests in order to hide from the gards. The last part about the priests protecting the assassin is actually a bit confusing in the trailer; the assassin stops and looks at the knights, and the knights don't charge him for some reason. So this part of the trailer is likely to result in different interpretations from the viewers based on their own personal understanding of the scene. This is the kind of confusion that should be noticed before a concept or trailer is made public, and re-worked. But overall, the description they would give you should be accurate enough in the case of Assassin's Creed's trailer. This should be your goal when you make a concept or trailer: make it easily understandable by anyone who would see or read it, regardless of whether they are gamers or not. This is what allows all sorts of movies to fill theaters with viewers of all sorts of backgrounds; people know what to expect and as such the movie's reach is maximized to its highest potential as it is advertised across various channels. Also, ideally, forget words. Games are not movies and as such are not enjoyed for the same reasons. People all over the world saw that Assassin's Creed trailer, people in the USA, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Russia, and many more. If you rely on words to carry out your message, you're going to make the message itself less comprehensible to a part of your viewers. There are no discernible words in the Assassin's Creed trailer and there was no need for any; the trailer is self-explanatory. On top of that, when it comes to the core targeted audience, gamers, they can clearly imagine how the game is supposed to play. The average casual gamer's questions about the product would be answered simply through the viewing of this trailer alone. Some will look deeper, seek more info on the mechanics, but overall it is clear and simple: you play as an assassin and have athletic skills that allow you to escape after killing your target. Maybe the only additional info that could have been suggested through this trailer would have been sword to sword combat, which is present in the game but absent in the trailer. But overall, it remains a very clear trailer and the message is understood. By making the concept or trailer easy to understand for anyone, all you need to do is show it to as many people as possible. Once you have a bait on your fishing line you should seek to cast it where there is as many sorts of fish as possible rather than target a specific type of fish with a specific type of bait. You might not catch as many mackerels, but you'll have plenty more fish in the end, and in our market all types of fish sell for the same price anyway. Now go look at other game trailers

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Quote:
Original post by Ether_Snake
By making the concept or trailer easy to understand for anyone, all you need to do is show it to as many people as possible.


Actualy its hooking the audience and reeling them in - its a concept as old as the written word. Book summaries do it, movie trailers do it. Its basic marketing 101. You don't just want people to watch your trailer and understand its just about some guy who kills some other guy then gets chased...you want people to watch the trailer and shout at the top of thier lungs "I WANNA PLAY THIS GAME NOW!".


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That's an interesting read, and a valid point to some degree.

I agree with the first reply too, in that the trailer should not just explain what the game is about, but also engage the potential player in some way that would really make him want to PLAY the game he just saw.

I don't want to derail the topic, but to be honest, Assassin Creed's trailer didn't do it for me. I ended up trying, and then buying the game after liking it so much, but it had very little to do with the trailer. I think the (back)story in the game was what engaged me the most, and obviously that element is not present in the trailer. On second thought, I did _want_ to give it a try after seeing the trailer, just not enough to justify spending time/attention on yet another game instead of doing more productive things.

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What I meant tho was massmarket. You wouldn't believe the number of people who don't like video games, or don't play them often, who were attracted to the IP after seeing the trailer.

The trailer worked for gamers, and then said gamers, especially the hardcore, would look for more info (like you did). But it also worked extremely well for a mass non-gaming-oriented market. So the more you try to lure gamers, the less you bring attention from the mass non-gaming market. Yet this trailer worked well to draw them in, and gamers who wanted more info went out and go that info themselves (interviews, gameplay videos, etc.).

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